familiar with media events
may recall that Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBG) sought to repel
voters away from Democratic contender John Kerry during his 2004
bid for the presidency. In its most publicized act, Sinclair planned
to air the controversial film, "Stolen Honor", two weeks
prior to the election so as -- in the words of a Sinclair reporter
-- "to sway the election" toward Sinclair's preferred
candidate. While there is nothing wrong with a business owner
supporting a candidate, the way in which Sinclair did so is, in
our view, a breach of ethics and a misuse of the public's airwaves.
And the "Stolen Honor" incident is only one example
of Sinclair's selfish and crass use of this public resource.
lengthy report provides information about Sinclair Broadcast
Group (SBG), one of the largest owners of television stations
in the United States and the leader in consolidating local news
programs, cutting staff, and politicizing its stations. This report
is annotated with over 20 published reports
about Sinclair, listed at the end of this page.
is divided into three main sections.
In the first, background information about SBG is provided. In
the second, published reports about Sinclair's pattern of manipulating
news, controlling local content, and reducing local news -- across
the country -- is provided. In the third section, we focus on
more local (Iowa) effects of Sinclair's actions.
Sinclair story is complex and even occasionally sordid at times.
Here, we take on the task of introducing Sinclair and why we consider
it on the cutting edge of forces leading our news media down a
sad spiral of incivility, unethical "reporting", and
divisiveness that tends to only further alienate and disengage
citizens. In those respects, Sinclair is doing an impressive job.
skip to various sections listed in the table below, simply click
on the hypertext links and your browser will be sent to the appropriate
section of this rather long webpage.
Sinclair Broadcast Group,
a major owner of broadcast television stations, is headquartered
in Hunt Valley, Maryland, near Baltimore. With 60 stations, it
is among the largest owner of stations and also the largest owner
of "duopolies", that is, pairs of stations located in
the same market. The company's roots began in 1971, when Julian
Sinclair Smith purchased a UHF station in Baltimore. In 1986,
Smith's four sons founded Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBG). Headed
by David D. Smith, President and CEO, the Smith brothers control
over 95% of SBG's stock. According to its website, SBG stations
reach 24% of the American viewing households.
stations make up on of the largest network
of stations owned by a single corporation. Sinclair also has the
most "duopolies" (twin stations in the same market),
another way in which diversity is threatened.
In Iowa, Sinclair owns
or operates three stations: KGAN and KFXA, both of Cedar Rapids,
and KDSM of Des Moines.
SBG owns stations affiliated
with ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, UPN, and WB networks. Because these stations
have maintained these various affiliations, Sinclair is a little
different than the other "fair and balanced" network.
It maintains a lower profile, so much so that viewers may be unaware
that their local station is not a CBS affiliate in the traditional
sense, but one tightly managed by Sinclai. That's the case with
KGAN, Channel 2, of Cedar Rapids, which has been owned by Sinclair
since July of 1999. Loyal viewers of Channel 2 have seen significant
changes in KGAN's programming that have also been observed in
other Sinclair stations.
In Sinclair's own words,
a key to their business plan is to become "a major consolidator
in the industry" and they have done this in some imaginative
ways. In 1991, SBG came up with the "Local Marketing Agreement"
in which they can control a second station in the same market
without claiming outright ownership. In this way, Sinclair became
the largest owner of "duopolies", by using a loophole
in FCC rules meant to prevent duopolies. Sinclair has been challenged
by various groups for this questionable practice, a practice SBG
In his interview with
Stone magazine, David Smith reportedly comes across as very
self-assured and outspoken, although reporters have noted that
he prefers to maintain a low public profile. Perhaps this is understandable,
as not all of his past activities would place him in the ranks
of the most respectful conservative civic leader. We elaborate
on this a separate page, but note
that that report is tawdry in nature and may be objectionable
to some readers.
control of the news: National perspectives
The second part of this
report reviews several articles either published in print or web
sites that covered issues related to the centralization of news
operations by Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBG). At the end of this
page, the various sources cited in the report are listed under
A. Sinclair's Stolen Honor
A. 1. Calling political advocacy "news"
Like their philosophical
brethren at Fox Television, Sinclair has been very aggressive
in promoting its political views on television. However, Sinclair
is a bit different in that they use the public's broadcast airwaves
to do so. Perhaps their most well-known act was their plan to
air "Stolen Honor: Wounds that Never Heal" two weeks
prior to the 2004 presidential election. This film was also promoted
by the anti-Kerry group "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth"
in an effort to negatively influence Senator Kerry's campaign.
While the Fairness Doctrine
was no longer in effect (see the FCC
deregulation timeline), the FCC's Equal Time provision was.
This rule stipulates that, during election campaigns, candidates
of opposing parties must be given equal time on the air to prevent
bias toward one candidate. In its desire to promote their Republican
candidate, Sinclair simply claimed that "Stolen Honor"
was news and therefore not subject to the FCC's
Equal Time provisions. Although a large amount of public outcry
of this tactic ensued, Michael Powell, then head of the FCC, told
CNN, "Don't look to us to block the airing of a program".
Not only did the Kerry
campaign object, but so did the public. As reported by Salon and
Rolling Stone, media-reform groups organized boycotts of SBG advertisers.
Not only that, the company's stock fell more than 15% and lost
over $100 million within a 10 day period. Institutional investors
threatened to sue Sinclair for putting politics before profits.
Sinclair backed down, most likely because of the depressed stock
prices than for any newfound sense of journalistic ethics.
is it important that Sinclair Broadcasting be urged in
all lawful ways that can be imagined to reconsider its
decision to broadcast on its television stations the anti-Kerry
in a large, pluralistic information society democracy
will not work unless electronic media distribute reasonably
accurate information and also competing opinions about
political candidates to the entire population."
FCC Commissioner Reed Hundt (13
Oct 2004, in "Sinclair Ought to Know Better - And
So Should the FCC", the Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
A. 2. Firing
a reporter with recognized journalistic integrity
Insider reports at Sinclair
have painted a picture of tension within Sinclair's news organization.
Jon Leiberman, the Washington Bureau chief for Sinclair news,
objected to what he saw was his company's misuse of the public's
airwaves. On Sunday, October 17, 2004, during a mandatory meeting
for all Sinclair's "News Central" staff, Leiberman announced
his opposition to the broadcast of Stolen Honor. Leiberman was
quoted as stating to his colleagues that "Each and every
one of us is going to lose our credibility if we lend our voices
and our writing and our faces to this product that clearly isn't
news." He continued: "It's propaganda. It's meant to
sway the election -- we've been told that by people inside the
company." (more on the movie Stolen Honor is available from
Sinclair fired Leiberman
the day after he went public with his complaint.
Later, Leiberman was awarded
a special Payne Award for ethics in journalism by the University
of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications. Sinclair CEO
Smith publicly objected and urged that the Payne award be withdrawn
because Leiberman had signed a 'gag order' that forbade him from
talking with the press while an employee of SBG. Upon receiving
Smith's letter, the Payne Award selection committee reconvened
and responded. It stated that Leiberman's concern for journalistic
ethics trumped any concern about a breech of a corporate confidentiality
agreement. The selection committee wrote back
to Smith, stating they did not agree with Smith and that they
would not revoke the award.
Sinclair has continued
to pursue Mr. Leiberman. In October 2005, Sinclair filed suit
in Baltimore County Circuit Court against Leiberman, claiming
$16,640 in so-called "liquidated damages", equal to
a percentage of his salary had he served out his contract.
proved one thing: People like controversy.
do one of those Stolen Honor specials every month if we could.
lesson was very straightforward: That we can do this kind of
content, pre-empt the networks and make more
CEO David Smith, as reported by Rolling Stone, 24 Feb
B. Sinclair reduces news staffs and local programming
that Sinclair Broadcast Group has, on multiple occasions, reduced
the size of local television news staffs and/or local programming
across its network.
2002, the media and entertainment trade magazine, Variety, published
an on-line report entitled "No more film at 11 as stations
cut back". It noted a relatively new trend in which local
news programs were cut from stations' broadcast schedules. It
reported three stations that eliminated local news: KDNL (St.
Louis), WXLV (Winston-Salem, NC), and WEVV (Evansville, IN). Two
of the three (KDNL and WXLV) were controlled by SBG. Sinclair's
cuts resulted in the loss of 47 and 35 jobs, respectively, according
2004 story by Salon.com reported additional Sinclair cuts at stations
they acquired. One noted incident occurred at SBG's station in
Rochester, N.Y. Sinclair reportedly dismissed "the entire
news, weather and sports anchor team, and half of the remaining
staff." Salon also reported that Variety detailed how CEO
David Smith personally:
station employees in the company parking lot, climbed onto the
hood of a car, read a list of names, and announced that those
on the list were fired."
as dramatic, but just as relevant to concerns about local reporting
and community-affairs programming, is an SBG-induced change at
another station. According to Salon, after SBG took control of
WCWB in Pittsburg, it eliminated three public affairs programs
and replaced them with program-length commercials.
trends in staffing and programming have also occurred at KGAN,
an eastern Iowa Sinclair station, as is detailed in the second
part of this document.
II. C. News Centralization and
its debilitating effects
Sinclair launched a new approach to local television news programming
- one in which the local news segments delivered by local TV staff
are seamlessly blended in with non-local content delivered by
personnel at an SBG set in Maryland. Sinclair calls the non-local
part of this hybrid program "News Central". According
to SBG's corporate website (http://www.sbgi.net/business/news.shtml),
the News Central approach is a "revolutionary news model"
that provides "local news in programming in markets that
otherwise could not support news." As reported by The Business
Journal ("Background Report: Sinclair Foreshadows the Death
of Local News") the "News Central" format was,
in its earlier days, implemented in five cities: Minneapolis,
Oklahoma City, Raleigh (NC), Rochester (NY), and Flint (MI).
states that News Central was applied to markets that "otherwise
could not support news", it should be noted that this is
rationale is debatable. Four of the five aforementioned metropolitan
areas have populations of at least 1 million (according to Encyclopedia
Britannica, 2005 version). Furthermore, all five cities are ranked
in the top 40% of the 210 Designated Market Areas (DMA) listed
by Nielsen Media in the fall of 2005. All five also rank above
the Cedar Rapids DMA, which is served by multiple broadcast television
news programs. It is difficult to see how Minneapolis, Oklahoma
City, or Raleigh are markets that cannot support local news.
centralized news with local news into a single program has several
possible debilitating effects to the welfare of local viewers.
They are discussed below.
II. C. 1. Confusing the viewer as to the
As has been
reported by multiple sources, the news set at Sinclair's "News
Central" studio and the news sets at the local stations have
been designed to appear as being part of the same set. One result
is that at least some viewers of these hybrid programs are confused.
A May 5th, 2005 report by the Cincinnati Enquirer noted that Ms.
Kim Moening, the sole on-air person in the studio at SBG's Cincinnati
station, related how "Some viewers actually think all 'News
Central' anchors work at Channel 64". Even Morris Jones,
one of SBG's "News Central" anchors, acknowledges viewer
think I'm in Flint or they're happy to see me back on the air,
and they're assuming that I'm there. They may think I'm on the
air in Las Vegas or somebody may think that I've just moved
to Pittsburgh, but I certainly write them back and say, 'Well,
I'm glad the concept is working.' It's a seamless newscast."
- Morris, as quoted on PBS "News Hour", Dec. 11th,
of the local / corporate boundary within SBG's hybrid news program
is aided by across-anchor (and across-country) "banter".
As reported by The Business Journal, News Central reporters are
coached as to how to seamlessly make the transition from non-local
to local. Specifically, the article reported about the "hand-offs"
between the News Central weather reporter and the anchor at the
the weatherman, safely removed from the thunderstorms in, say,
Minneapolis, will often engage in scripted banter with the local
anchor to maintain the pretense: 'Should I bring an umbrella
tomorrow, Don?' 'You bet, Hal, it looks pretty ugly out there...'
- excerpt from www.business-journal.com report of April 30th,
suggest that the ambiguous origins of SBG's hybrid news program
is intentional. As noted in an article by the trade website, TVTechnology,
"Although the national news, sports and weather will originate
from the Sinclair headquarters and the local segments will be
done locally, the viewer will see similar graphics and visual
designs to give the impression of a single news source."
TVTechnology quoted SBG's Corporate News Director, Joe Defeo:
"It's seamless - the music, the graphics, the look - it all
matches what we're doing."
has been labeled as deceptive by Marty Haag, the well-respected
veteran Texan broadcaster, Broadcast Executive-in-Residence at
Southern Methodist University, and winner of a George Foster Peabody
Award for personal achievement:
think that it's deceptive, period, simply, purely deceptive.
The idea is that, I think, in order for journalists at a time
where they're probably questioned more about why they did certain
stories and how they arrived at a certain treatment, et cetera,
et cetera, should be transparent and this broadcast certainly
- Haag, as quoted in the News Hour ("Central Casting".
Dec 11th, 2003)
II. C. 2. Less news coverage of local
events and issues
above, SBG has sharply cut the local news staff of, at least,
some of its stations. As was noted in the December 11th, 2003
"News Hour" program, there is doubt as to how well SBG
stations can cover local events with "typically half the
staff" of non-SBG stations that cover local news.
in the center. Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the media is
left of center."
are two companies doing truly balanced news today: Sinclair and
Smith, CEO and President, Sinclair Broadcast Group (as reported
by Rolling Stone)
C. 3. Inaccurate reporting
required to assume the "News Central" format have their
weather information and forecasts reported by the SBG staffer
in Maryland. As Ms. Moening (of SBG's Cincinnati affiliate) noted
in the Cincinnati Enquirer report, the News Central weather reporter
"has the same equipment as Channels 5, 9, 12 and 19. The
only difference is that he can't look out the window to see what's
going on." Even News Central meteorologist, Vytas Reid, acknowledged
this basic deficiency of the "News Central" approach:
course, I can't look out my window like a good meteorologist
should to make sure the forecast is correct, 'Well, yes, it
is snowing about there.'"
- Reid, as quoted on the News Hour (Dec 11th, 2003)
From a December,
2005 article in GQ magazine, this loss of truly local reporting
has indeed caused problems. Quoting a former SBG producer , it
have been some hilarious mistakes. Tornadoes blow through local
areas and Sinclair is using reports from the National Weather
Service talking about the sunshine."
of inaccurate reporting suggest that public safety could be compromised
by the "News Central" approach to weather reporting.
II. C. 4. Loss of local control and
and perhaps the most serious, concern is the loss of local control
over the selection of national stories, features, and opinions.
As the well-respected broadcast veteran, Marty Haag, has noted:
tie between a local news operation and its audience is an essential
tie that I think is certainly diminished, if not obliterated,
by the News Central concept.
It's very hard to say that we are a local news operation when
you have people in Baltimore, for example, deciding what national
stories you are going to use in your broadcast."
- Haag, as quoted on the News Hour (Dec 11th, 2003)
C. 5. A look at News Central content
result in selection of the news that favors SBG interests over
local interests. As part of his "Central Casting" News
Hour report, Terence Smith listed the reports broadcast by "News
Central" during a 10 p.m. television broadcast that he monitored:
story): "about young women taking a stand on gay rights
by kissing in school"
2. "a spat between Britney Spears and the first lady of
3. "a story from Maine about a woman refusing to pay her
4. "a filibuster in the U.S. Senate"
5. "a judicial nomination controversy"
6. "the [Washington D.C.] sniper trial"
7. "a Scott Peterson court update"
8. "a report about terrorism Web sites"
9. "the results of the previous night's unscientific, quick
poll of viewers' attitudes on Iraq."
also noted that, "There was no news reporting on Iraq during
that evening's broadcast."
this report is unable to establish whether there should have been
reporting about Iraq that night, there are unusual aspects to
this list of news reports. It seems unlikely (to this writer)
that a well-regarded national news organization would lead with
a story about high school women kissing in a school unless it
was part of some high-profile national debate. Also, it is not
clear to what degree viewers in say, Las Vegas or Flint, would
have an interest in a story about a spat between Britney Spears
and the wife of the governor of Maryland (the home state of "News
Central"). The national newsworthiness of a New England woman
refusing to pay taxes is also unclear. Finally, the inclusion
of an unscientific poll about "attitudes on Iraq" is
somewhat troubling, not only because the poll was not adequately
controlled for bias, but also because of widely reported prior
incidents in which SBG has used its stations in controversial
ways to support particular political positions.
reports have noted that SBG manipulates the news that is aired
on its stations. Jon Leiberman, the former Washington Bureau Chief
for SBG's News Central, has recounted his story of how SBG CEO
David Smith pressured him to present the news according to the
biases of Sinclair executives. The following excerpt is from the
recent article in GQ magazine:
came to the newsroom every day," says Leiberman, a two-time
Bush voter who was fired last October when he spoke against
the company's partisan airing of the anti-Kerry documentary.
"I went into a meeting with David Smith about a month and
a half before I left. David said, 'Your stories need to look
more like Mark's editorials.'"
referred to in the GQ article is Sinclair Vice President Mark
Hyman, best known for his aforementioned nightly editorials aired
in "The Point" segment that is included on the local
news programs of SBG stations.
employees have reported similar dictums from top SBG management.
In an article published by Rolling Stone magazine, an ex-producer
was quoted as saying he was ordered not to report "any bad
news out of Iraq -- no dead servicemen, no reports on how much
we're spending, nothing." On February 18th, 2004, the Baltimore
Sun reported that Sinclair's news department began airing a series
of reports from Iraq that were to focus on positive reports rather
than the typical reporting of other networks that SBG considered
to be negative. However, a producer sent to Iraq as part of this
effort told Rolling Stone:
weren't reporting news', says the producer, who spoke on the
condition of anonymity. 'You were reporting a political agenda
that came down to you from the top of the food chain.'"
- excerpt from "Beyond 'Fair and Balanced', Rolling Stone,
Feb 24, 2005.
In the GQ
article, a Sinclair producer was quoted as saying: "I was
told on at least one occasion, 'Don't do Iraq unless it's good
by the Illinois Times also reported how SBG would select news
reports to reflect its interests. Referring to its interview with
former SBG Washington Bureau Chief Leiberman, the report noted:
priorities were evident, he says, in the fact that he and a
crew were sent to New York to interview Stolen Honor author
John O'Neil the day before the book's release - resulting in
three broadcast stories - yet Sinclair didn't mention abuses
at Abu Ghraib until two weeks after the story broke elsewhere."
- excerpt from "Puppet Masters" by Paul Schmelzer,
Illinois Times (March 10, 2005)
is relatively well known among media watchers for requiring its
stations to air "The Point", the commentary of SBG Vice
President Mark Hyman that is inserted into the local news programs
of SBG stations. Hyman often espouses political or social beliefs
that are not necessarily those of the local broadcast staff or
the viewing public. In preparing this report, no other television
network was found that requires the views of its corporate owners
to be aired during the local news program of their stations. Perhaps
station owners have a legal right to air such opinions, it is
not at all clear how the "public interest" of the viewers
is served when contrary local opinions are not given a meaningful
voice on SBG stations.
It has been
reported that SBG not only requires its stations to air the corporate
opinion segment during the local news, but has also required news
anchors to read a statement in support of the Bush administration.
As reported by the Baltimore Sun on November 3, 2005, Sinclair
required loyalty statements to be read by its local news broadcasters:
the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, executives ordered news
anchors at its local stations to run editorials announcing support
for the Bush administration's response to the attacks."
by the trade journal "Broadcasting and Cable" (24 Sept
2001) and Salon (Oct. 14, 2004), Sinclair required newscasters
to air the following:
stand 100 percent behind the President in his vow that terrorism
must be stopped."
in Salon.com, this edict caused consternation within Sinclair
station newsrooms for its lack of journalistic objectivity. Anchors
felt they were put in a "no-win" situation: After all,
how could one not support the President at that
time? Yet reciting such a statement clearly violated the journalistic
standard of objectivity and independence from the government.
of corporate-centered use of the broadcast airwaves can be found
in published reports. For example, the Illinois Times article
details how SBG's flagship station, WBFF, reported on pollution
of a river at a point 160 miles distant from the station, reportedly
because of personal interests of SBG executives who owned land
near the pollution site (see "Puppet Masters", Illinois
Times, March 10, 2005).
II. C. 6. Controlling non-Sinclair content:
Preempting "The Fallen"
was anxious to smear Senator Kerry by promoting a spurious story
that Kerry killed a retreating Vietnamese, they were less interested
in honoring American soldiers who were killed in the Iraq war.
This occurred in another well-publicized incident that illustrated
the loss of local control by Sinclair stations. On April 30th,
2004, SBG forbade its ABC affiliates from airing an ABC "Nightline"
tribute to the service men and women killed in the Iraq war.
network announced that they would air a special edition of their
Nightline news program on 30 April 2004 to honor the U.S. service
personnel who had died in the Iraq war. The name of soldier would
be read on the air. Sinclair found this to be offensive and told
its eight ABC stations not to air the program. They perceived
this program to be anti-Bush propaganda and said as much. Barry
Faber, lead counsel for Sinclair stated "We find it to be
contrary to public interest".
Sinclair did not find it offensive when ABC aired a similar program
in which the names and images of all those who lost their lives
on September 11, 2001 were presented on the first anniversary
of that event.
several letters that document the thoughts of Sinclair and agents
with contrary opinions.
to news sources such as CNN, the public response to Sinclair's
action was again negative.
Sinclair's action did not escape Senator John McCain, himself
a decorated war hero. He found Sinclair's actions "misguided",
"deeply offensive", and "unpatriotic". We
include correspondence from Sinclair, ABC News, and Senator McCain
that explain their points of view.
Hyman proclaimed that the Nightline tribute "was not in the
public interest" and that "For us to trivialize their
deaths, for those who served, for some other purpose doesn't make
any sense to us whatsoever" ("News Hour" April
30th, 2004). SBG also stated:
you judge our decision, however, we would ask that you first question
Mr. Koppel as to why he chose to read the names of 523 troops
killed in combat in Iraq, rather than the names of the thousands
of private citizens killed in terrorist attacks since and including
the events of September 11, 2001. In his answer, we believe you
will find the real motivation behind his action scheduled for
this Friday." (SBG Statement on The Fallen)
with implied accusations, was made despite the fact that the ABC
had indeed read all the names of the 9-11 victims on the one-year
anniversary of that tragic event. Sinclair chose to ignore
this inconvenient fact (see ABC News' Statement, below, on Sinclair's
decision to pre-empt "The Fallen").
on the panels to read the correspondence between ABC,
Sinclair, and Senator McCain on Sinclair's order
not to air "The Fallen
As a public
trustee, SBG should allow its viewers - citizens of this country
-- to make their own decisions about the merits of the Nightline
tribute, rather than question the patriotism of ABC, Ted Koppel,
and forbid viewers from even seeing the program. It is difficult
to see how this central control serves the public interest. One
would think that conservative-leaning individuals would espouse
"local control" over control by a central authority,
as is often their desire when it comes to regulation by elected
officials of the People.
D. The Point
D. 1. Introduction: A daily abuse of our airwaves
All of the
television stations owned by SBG are required to air "The
Point", a 1-2 minute commentary, produced by SBG Vice President
Mark Hyman, during their local news broadcasts. These daily commentaries
are produced in SBG headquarters in Maryland and beamed to all
This is a
rather unusual arrangement: the insertion of corporate opinions
during ocal news programs. Although Sinclair generously describes
The Point as a means of "stimulating public discourse",
in Sinclair's hands, that discourse is very much a one-way affair.
Although SBG claims that it allows contrary views to be aired
along with Hyman's, that is a highly deceptive description, as
will be described below. The Point is virtually a one-sided screed
against perceived enemies and does not provide a meaningful debate,
at least not on the public's airwaves.
ironically, The Point has indeed stimulated public discourse:
It is doubtful that IBLTV would have been formed and energized
without the actions of Sinclair's Mark Hyman. IBLTV certainly
has gotten involved.
Point is a one-minute daily commentary that is intended to stimulate
public discourse. The Point encourages viewer feedback, and
every Saturday we air select viewer comments, both positive and
negative. In an age of homogenized, bland, politically correct
news, we are proud to deliver news and commentary that stimulates
critical thinking and encourages viewers to get involved."
description of The Point
President, Sinclair Broadcast Group)
According to Salon.com,
The Point began appearing on Sinclair stations shortly after
the September 11th, 2001 bombings, limited at first to the stations
fed their news by Sinclair's "News Central" opertation,
to eventually, all 62 of their stations. All local stations
must reserve 1-2 minutes of its local news half-hour to accommodate
Sinclair's opinions. As IBLTV has informed the FCC, with 11-12
minutes of each local half-hour news broadcast consumed by commercials,
and at least 10 more minutes devoted to non-news features, this
intrusion into the local news significantly cuts into the small
amount of time each station actually devotes to local news and
It should be noted that
SBG also beams other Sinclair-opinion pieces to its local stations.
For example, another segment called "Get This", calls
viewers' attention to news items or incidents that Sinclair
believes deserves specific ridicule or opprobrium. As with The
Point, KGAN-TV also carries "Get This" on a daily
During Sinclair's "The
Point" segment, Mark Hyman provides a commentary that is
slanted to the far right. As has been documented by various
sources (MediaMatters, Salon, TheCounterPoint, RollingStone,
etc.) the content of Hyman's lectures are highly critical and
uncivil toward views different than those of Sinclair's. Thus,
the French, who opposed President Bush's War on Iraq are labeled
"cheese-eating surrender monkeys", war critics are
"whack-jobs", Democrats critical of President Bush
are "unpatriotic politicians who hate our military"
and those with views to the left of Sinclair are habitually
called "the Angry Left" or the "hate-America
As in the case of Sinclair's
News Central downloads, there is no effort to make it clear
that Mr. Hyman's lecture is not just another segment of the
local news. In fact, several Iowans have commented to IBLTV
that they were wondered about this segment, thinking that it
originated at KGAN. Such confusion as to the origin of Sinclair
material included in local news programming has also been cited
in published reports.
Sinclair's stated purpose
of The Point, is to "stimulate public discourse" and
"critical thinking". Given the large number of falsehoods,
distortions, and smears uttered by Mr. Hyman on The Point (see
The Counter Point
or Media Matters for documentation),
it is difficult to believe that "critical thinking"
can lead many to agree with Hyman's Point. Also, Mr. Hyman unfortunately
has a reliable tendency to brand his political opponents as
part of the "hate America crowd"; so it is also
difficult to see how any sense of civility or fairness is promoted.
meaningful opportunity for differing or opposing viewpoints
Sinclair claims that
The Point provides for a back-and-forth exchange of ideas and
that it welcomes alternative points of view. They may encourage
viewers to send their opinions via email, but The Point is not
a forum for the exchange of ideas; it is a one-way lecture.
Sinclair claims that
the "Mailbag" segment of The Point provides this exchange
with its viewers. But quite simply, this is not true for the
following reasons. First, the Mailbag occurs on Saturdays, when
viewership of local news is at its lowest of the week. Second,
opposing views are seldom, if ever, ever fully stated. Instead,
Mr. Hyman himself selects snippets of the presumed comments
of a few viewers (the viewers are never identified by last name
or address). Opposing views are not given full expression, but
are framed by Hyman to fit his agenda. That is, it is typical
for him to choose several "atta boy" comments that
amplify his views and adding no substance. Meanwhile, he'll
include a few comments from "the Angry left", but
in a way that fails to advance any conversation. Indeed, Hyman
often cannot refrain from adding a belittling or uncivil statement
to the selected phrases that are supposedly from those America
haters. Again, this may increase the blood pressure of viewers,
but it is difficult to see how it stimulates public discourse.
Finally, providing such a limited venue for the limited and
selected phrases of viewers from across the country can only
be considered "fair and balanced" in the Fox use of
D. 2. The Point as a political weapon
weeks of anti-Kerry smears. If Sinclair
is known to the general public for its use of its stations to
trash John Kerry, it is because of its widely criticized attempt
o air "Stolen Honor" two weeks prior to the 2004 Presidential
Election. However, Sinclair also used its nightly airing of
The Point to do the same job.
In the last weeks leading up to the 2004 Presidential election,
Sinclair used The Pointto present a series of segments highly
critical of Democratic candidate Kerry. The titles of these
opinion pieces, aired in mid-late September, reveal their bias:
of The Point aired over an 11 day period before the 2004
& The Killing" 9/13/04
& The Three Weeks of Protest" 9/16/04
& The Medals" 9/21/04
& The Purple Heart" 9/14/04
& The Navy" 9/19/04
& The Communists" 9/22/04
& The Winter Soldier Investigation" 9/15/04
& The Oath" 9/20/04
& The Numbers" 9/23/04
While the Navy's official
record states that John Kerry earned the Silver Star award for
daring and personal courage ... in attacking a numerically superior
force in the face of intense fire",
Mr. Hyman accused Kerry
of being guilty of "killing a Vietnamese man" (13
Sept 2004 edition of The Point) and that he killed a "wounded
man as he retreated from battle." (25 Oct 2004 edition).
Matters For America has documented,
Hyman's accusations are false, yet they were aired on the 62
SBG stations on "The Point" just before the presidential
election. Mr. Hyman and Sinclair, oblivious to all else in their
desire to smear Kerry, somehow never considered the damage they
were inflicting on all veterans by calling into question the
officially reported bravery of those who served their country.
One must conclude that patriotism and respect for our fighting
men and women is a rather flexible concept, to be bent when
self-interest is a concern.
D. 3. Sinclair forces local stations to attack local viewers
perhaps the most egregious example of SBG's use of its network
for personal reasons occurred on February 16th, 2005, when Mark
Hyman used his SBG-required commentary ("The Point")
to attack a University of Iowa professor. Although this story
is told elsewhere, it should be included in this report. Briefly,
Hyman devoted that day's edition of The Point to disparage four
university professors, including Ted Remington of the University
of Iowa. IHyman prefaced his specific charges by saying:
of the brightest minds in America are in academia. Unfortunately,
higher education is also home to those who can't hold a job
in the real world. Otherwise unemployable individuals are
paid to proselytize intellectually bankrupt viewpoints."
- Introductory excerpt from The Point, Feb. 16th, 2005.
accused Remington of proclaiming that academic plagiarism "doesn't
really hurt anybody"
his commentary, Hyman said:
thinkers such as Churchill, Remington and Ball have a First
Amendment right to voice their opinions. They just don't have
a right to make a living off it at taxpayers' expense. And
they shouldn't. And that's the point."
with Hyman's criticism is that his accusations against Remington
were completely spurious. Remington played no part in crafting
the plagiarism policy that Hyman quoted. That policy appeared
on the same departmental website as Ted Remington's name; Hyman
and SBG apparently failed to perform simple "fact checking".
Neither did they contact Remington about their accusations prior
to airing them across the nation.
Hyman attack Remington on Sinclair's network of stations? It
seems unlikely that the reason had anything to do with the contrived
connection between Remington and plagiarism policies. It is
more likely due to the fact that Remington authored a weblog
called "The Counterpoint", which sought to refute
Hyman's statements. Indeed, Sinclair executives were more intimately
aware of Remington's actual activities than was indicated by
Hyman's attack, as SBG executives and Remington had communicated
with each other on multiple occasions prior to the attack (this
information was obtained from a personal interview with Ted
than two weeks later, Hyman offered the following retraction
on his Saturday "Mailbag" segment:
"Ted Remington of Iowa University emailed that the citation
regarding plagiarism attributed to him was not his policy,
but was instead included in the notes for the course he teaches.
He emailed, 'I am currently teaching that course, but I had
no hand in the preparation of any of the materials for it.
It was put together by a group of senior department faculty.
I deserve neither credit [n]or blame for it.' We regret the
SBG removed in a highly specific way, the transcript and video
of the February 16th edition of "The Point", as has
been reported by Media Matters for America (see "Deceitful
episode of 'The Point' vanished from Sinclair's website",
by Mediamatters.org, as listed below).
retraction revealed the erroneous plagiarism accusation, it
did not explain to the public the prior relationship between
SBG and Remington or explicitly retract Hyman's negative characterization
one to wonder why Professor Michael Ball of the University of
Wisconsin - Superior, was also assailed by Hyman on the same
February 16, 2005, broadcast. Unlike Remington, Ball had had
no known prior contact with Hyman or Sinclair (personal communication
with Ball), although it may be relevant that Ball had taught
courses on hate groups and right-wing extremism, information
available to Hyman and SBG from the Internet. As Media Matters
for America has documented (see "Hyman smeared university
professors, including one who regularly refutes 'The Point'",
by Mediamatters.org, as listed below), Ball never said what
Hyman claimed, that Christianity was "the common thread
of hate groups". Even though Mediamatters.com had posted
this information, SBG has never retracted its negative characterization
of Dr. Ball's alleged anti-Christian attitudes.
brightly illuminates one of the problems with local broadcast
television as practiced by the Sinclair model. Inaccuracies,
some of them with highly questionable or possibly malicious
intent, are aired on many local stations without any apparent
oversight or fact-checking by the local stations. Such attacks,
in the opinion of the author, obviously run counter to the expectation
of local viewers; that is, one would not expect a Cedar Rapids
station to attack an Iowa Citian with such inaccuracy or lack
of concern for balance or equal time. Under the format established
by SBG, Remington had no means of fully rebutting Hyman's charges
or have equal time to pronounce his views on a forum comparable
to Hyman's. The notion of community-based local television that
serves the "public interest" clearly did not work,
either in the case of Remington or Ball.
Perhaps The Point is
the best example of how, in our view, Sinclair Broadcast Corporation
abuses its use of the public airwaves. The direction that Sinclair
is taking our country is only toward more incivility, intolerance,
and an increasing inability to appreciate other views. There
is too much unnecessary division in this country and that division
is crippling our ability to get things done.
E. Sinclair's systematic increase in central control
effort to impose the "News Central" format has grown
from its first start late in 2002. In December of 2002, TVTechnology.com
reported that the News Central approach was applied first only
to one station, WSMH in Flint, Michigan. By April, 2004, it was
applied to five SBG stations (source: Business Journal). By May
of 2005, SBG applied the News Central model to fourteen of its
stations, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
sources have noted, SBG intention was to spread the News Central
approach to many, if not all, of its stations. By December of
2003, the format was imposed on SBG stations on at least 10 stations.
In the TVTechnology report, Joe DeFeo, SBG's corporate news director,
noted that the News Central format would be expanded to more stations.
"All the stations, in some form or fashion, will be part
without the News Central format are required to promote the views
of SBG headquarters through other "must carry" videos.
In addition to the opinion segment called "The Point",
Sinclair also has other centrally produced segments called "Get
This" and "Truth, Lies and Red Tape," both of which
have been reported to be skewed to the right-leaning philosophy
of Sinclair's executives. The left-leaning advocacy group "Media
Matters for America" reviewed the contents of "Get This"
during the month of November, 2004 and reported a bias toward
right-leaning perspectives. This analysis can be seen at their
a few points about the status of the local news at KGAN (Cedar
Rapids, Iowa) relative to the above "national perspectives"
report. As of this writing, SBG has not converted KGAN to its
"News Central" format, although it has reduced the news
staff size over time and has cut back on the number of local news
broadcasts. Finally, IBLTV members have observed both "The
Point" and "Get This" segments that are produced
by SBG on the KGAN local news broadcasts. These actions are described
in the second part of this report.
II. F. Serious and widespread concern
As has been
widely noted, Sinclair Broadcast Group exists in its current form
as a result of media deregulation. Deregulation is often proclaimed
by its advocates as the best means of increasing quality and diversity
of opinion in the broadcast media. However, the evidence provided
here suggests just the opposite. In the case of Sinclair Broadcast
Group, the limited government regulation of content and fairness
of the previous generation has been replaced by corporate regulation
and central control of local stations. Given the documented cases
in which Sinclair has been perceived to act in its corporate interests
over those of its viewers, it is difficult for this writer to
see how deregulation serves the public. There is also irony in
the fact that political conservatives (with whom Sinclair is often
associated) have long advocated against the centralized control
this era of deregulation, which has eliminated the Fairness Doctrine,
can be seen as actually creating a loss of free-market leverage
espoused by deregulators. That is, deregulation has allowed stations
and networks to champion only one set of opinions, no longer requiring
them to air a diversity of opinions. With the rise of such networks
with widely perceived political slants (such as Sinclair and Fox),
it is less likely for their viewers to be exposed to a wide range
of ideas. It is the opinion of this writer that this only impoverishes
those viewers and makes them equipped to make informed decisions
about their governance. Thus, the presumed value of diversity
- providing information from multiple viewpoints - is lost among
television viewers that, according to the Pew Research Center,
have become more and more polarized (see "More voices, less
credibility"; Pew Research Center).
here is that there is a large difference between deregulation
of an industry and the abolishment of broadcast rules that were
designed to maintain fairness and balance. The former may spur
diversity and competition, but the latter has resulted in a system
that serves only the interests of the station owners and poorly
informs the nation. As Jefferson has noted, a poorly informed
public does not bode well for a the survival of a democracy.
the negative and troubling trends in broadcast media that have
resulted from deregulation include conservative columnist William
Safire ("On Media Giantism" January, 20, 2003), media
mogul Ted Turner ("My Beef with Big Media", The Washington
Monthly, Jul/Aug 2004), and the business journals whose critical
reports have been cited above. Even leaders such as Senator Trent
Lott, who is generally supportive of deregulation, has voiced
concern about its ill effects on broadcast media. Furthermore,
the public has reported a declining opinion about the quality
and credibility of the broadcast news ("More Voices, Less
Credibility" Pew Research Center, January 2005), all during
a sustained period of media deregulation.
25-year course of media deregulation and the documented problems
that have attended it, it seems not longer necessary to blindly
assume the effectiveness of "free market reforms" of
the broadcast media. The state of today's media suggest otherwise.
control of the news: A local perspective
Part I of this report demonstrated some trends that have been
reported regarding the operation of television stations owned
by the Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBG). These trends included reduction
of local news staff, the centralized control of news programming,
and reporting biased toward the preferences of SBG executives,
even when the stories had questionable relevance to the local
section focuses on the SBG station in Cedar Rapids, KGAN-TV and
its use of its local news reporting staff. The personnel lists
of four Iowa television stations were surveyed, primarily using
the information provided on each station's website. Three stations
(KGAN, KFXA, and KDSM) were owned by SBG or had an operating agreement
with SBG. A fourth station, KCRG, based in Cedar Rapids, is Iowa's
last locally owned and operated broadcast television station.
The personnel rosters were examined to compare staff sizes and
the stability of the work forces across time.
is a series of observations that are consistent with the trends
reviewed in Part 1 of this report. Although KGAN has not yet implemented
the "News Central" format that SBG has applied elsewhere,
it has demonstrated a reduction in its commitment to local news,
as assessed by news staff sizes, staff volatility, and the time
devoted to local news programs.
III. A. Staff reductions at KGAN
At four points
in time, KGAN's publicly posted roster of news personnel was recorded
from the list provided on the "Our Team" page of their
website (see KGAN's webpage at: http://www.kgan.com/kgan/team.shtml).
This page was monitored on April 28th, July 16th, October 5th,
and November 13th of 2005. The news personnel for KGAN over these
times are listed in the top row of Table 1 (below). News personnel
for KCRG are also listed in Table 1 for two of those times (July
16th and November 13th). As in the case with KGAN, the KCRG news
staff lists were obtained from their website (see http://www.kcrg.com/bio_list.aspx?cat_id=199).
6 ½ month period for which website data were collected
for KGAN, that station reduced its news staff size twice, from
14 in April down to a final number of 12 in November of the same
data in Table 1 has less information about KCRG's staff across
time, the data that was available for this survey indicates that
KCRG increased its news staff from 20 to 21 over the period from
July 16th to November 13th.
III. B. Smaller news staffs at
Iowa's Sinclair stations
reductions are perhaps best considered by contrasting its staffing
commitments with those of KCRG, the other VHS station based in
Cedar Rapids. During a period (from July 16th to November 13th)
over which KGAN reduced its on-air staff by one person, from 14
to 13, KCRG actually increased its on-air personnel strength from
20 to 21.
staff size is not the only indicator of the strength of a news
operation, it certainly is reflective of the ability to cover
the events within a geographical region. This is particularly
relevant to the eastern Iowa region, where several small to mid-sized
cities (i.e., Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Dubuque, Waterloo, and
Cedar Falls) are distributed across a relatively wide area and
are served by relatively few stations. For example, in the case
of KCRG, their news staff listing includes two members (Steve
Nicoles and Katie Wiedemann) that are specifically assigned to
reporting beats in Iowa City and Dubuque (respectively), two cities
that are home to no local stations. It cannot be determined from
KGAN's website whether or not it dedicates any specific personnel
to these cities, although its ability to do so would likely be
diminished by its relatively small staff. A quick perusal of the
personnel lists of Table 1 reveals that the Sinclair stations
have, relative to KCRG, significantly smaller news staffs.
As of July
16, the size of the KGAN on-air news staff - thirteen -- was 65%
of the size of KCRG's twenty-person staff. By November 13th, that
disparity became greater, with KGAN's staff size (twelve) amounting
to only 57% of KCRG's staff of 21.
It has been
noted in other reports that SBG uses smaller news staffs to cover
the news than do other stations (see, "Central Casting",
PBS News Hour, December 11, 2003; "Anchor feels right at
home. Kim Moening helps Channel 64 build a news operation from
the ground up", The Cincinnati Enquirer, May 5, 2005, or
"Sinclair's Disgrace", Salon.com, Oct 14, 2004). The
trend observed with eastern Iowa's Sinclair station appears to
be consistent with these observations.
III. C. Increased staff sharing
It is perhaps
not surprising to eastern Iowans that KGAN shares personnel across
SBG stations, as Cedar Rapids and Iowa City viewers can receive
broadcasts from two Sinclair-controlled stations that share news
personnel. For example, Tiffany O'Donnell, has appeared on all
three (KGAN, KFXA, and KDSM) Sinclair stations in Iowa over the
entire duration of this personnel monitoring project. Other personnel
covering weather and sports have appeared across KGAN and KFXA.
aforementioned period of website data collection, the amount of
across-station personnel sharing (discussed further, below) increased.
Specifically, at the data samples taken on July 16, KGAN shared
3 news-staff persons with Sinclair's Des Moines station (KDSM).
In the subsequent samples (at October 5 and November 13), KGAN
and KSDM shared 4 persons. In Table 1, the staff members that
are shared between KGAN and KDSM are highlighted by italicized
this analysis period, the news personnel at KFXA-TV were an exclusive
subset of those at KGAN. As of November 13, 2005, the listed KFXA
news personnel were Tiffany O'Donnell, Karen Hoskins, Mark Anthony,
and Kevin Hall (as listed on the "Our News Team" webpage
of KFXA at http://kfxa.tv/news/index.shtml). All four of these
KFXA news team members are also listed on KGAN's staff roster.
It should be noted that recently, KFXA introduced a "Good
Day Iowa" program, which is aired from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00
a.m. According to the KFXA website, this program has 3 additional
on-air persons. However, they are not listed on KFXA's "Our
News Team" page).
III. D. Greater staff volatility
of KGAN staff (from 14 to 12) over the period from April 28 to
November 13th tells only a part of the story. There was also a
relatively high degree of staff volatility. Over that period,
KGAN lost a total of five reporters (Karen Schulte, Dave Benton,
Andy Garman, Sarah Reid, and Krista Almanzan), replacing three
of their positions with new employees. Thus, by November 13, only
9 of the 14 employees that worked at KGAN in April remained there.
by Table 1, the staff data for KCRG does not cover as large a
time period as does the data for KGAN. Thus, for a fair comparison
of the degree of "staff volatility" between these two
stations, staff listing were compared for a time period (July
16th to November 13th) over which data were available from both
stations. Over that period, KGAN lost 3 employees and replace
two of their positions with new employees. Over the same time,
KCRG lost one employee and hired two new employees.
staff volatility would reasonably be expected to produce several
debilitating effects. The news staff would likely be less experienced
and also less familiar with the communities, issues, and constituencies.
It is also possible that greater volatility could result in relatively
poorer morale and within-staff communications.
E. Reduction in evening news programming
At some point
during the summer of 2005, KGAN eliminated its 5:00 p.m. local
news program. That is, during the time of a review of KGAN news
(the week of April 4, 2005), KGAN had both a 5:00 p.m. and 6:00
p.m. local news program, both of half-hour duration. By the time
of the last observations made in November 2005, KGAN had eliminated
its 5:00 p.m. news program, thus reducing the evening news from
two half-hour segments to a single half-hour segment. As of November
23rd, 2005, the other two VHF stations serving this area (KCRG
and KWWL) retained both their 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. local news
III. F. Possible sharing of personnel
across-station personnel sharing is obvious from the data in Table
1, KGAN may have engaged in personnel sharing of a more subtle
in a separate report that is part of this filing, I conducted
a detailed analysis of the local news programs of KGAN and KCRG
over a period from April 4th to April 8th of 2005. During this
5-day period, I observed a KGAN news report by a person not listed
in any of the KGAN personnel lists of Table 1. On its 6 p.m. local
news broadcast of Friday, April 8, KGAN aired a report from Living
History Farms (near Des Moines) that described an observance in
memory of Pope John Paul II's death. This report was filed by
Jennifer Mazi, a reporter who is listed with KDSM, Sinclair's
Des Moines station (see Table 1).
It is possible
that Ms. Mazi was listed by KGAN as a reporter on April 8th and
that her name was missing by the time the KGAN website was examined
on April 28th. However, according to the biographical sketch provided
by KDSM's site, "Jennifer Mazi joined KDSM last year as a
reporter." As the KDSM site was examined in 2005, it is concluded
that Ms. Mazi was employed at KSDM since 2004. Thus, she was an
additional "shared employee" that does not appear in
the Table 1 comparison.
Letter to David Smith, CEO of
Sinclair Broadcast Group
from the Univerity of Oregon School
of Journalism and Communication
more film at 11 as stations cut back. Soft ad market, digital
conversion contribute to local news' decline"
by Michael Schneider
Variety.com, Posted Tuesday, January 29, 2002
Takes NewsCentral National"
by Bob Kovacs
www.TVTechnology.com, Posted December 11, 2002
(transcript available at: http://www.tvtechnology.com/features/news/n_Sinclair.shtml)
by William Safire
The New York Times
January 20, 2003
reported by Terence Smith
PBS News Hour, December 11, 2003
(transcript at: www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/media/july-dec03/newscentral_12-11.html)
Iraq, going for the upbeat"
by David Folkenflik
Baltimore Sun, February 18, 2004, Section: Today, Page 1E
Report: Sinclair Foreshadows the Death of Local News"
by Paul Schmelzer
The Business Journal, April 30, 2004 (online edition)
of Sinclair Broadcast Group" [on the preemption of Nightline
(text available at: http://www.newscentral.tv/station/statement.shtml)
Estimated post time: late April, 2004
News' Statement" [on the their broadcast of "The Fallen"
and prior tributes to 9-11 victims]
April 29, 2004),
letter to Sinclair Broadcast on Preemption of Nightline"
by Senator John McCain.
Friday, Apr 30, 2004
Beef With Big Media"
by Ted Turner
The Washington Monthly (July/August 2004 edition)
(available at: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2004/0407.turner.html)
reported by Terence Smith
The News Hour, October 12th, 2004
(transcript at: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/media/july-dec04/sinclair_10-12.html)
Film Causes Stir"
by J. Jennings Moss
Fox News, October 13th, 2004
(transcript at: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,135228,00.html)
By Eric Boehlert, Salon on-line magazine, October 14, 2004
(transcript at: /www.salon.com/news/feature/2004/10/14/sinclair/index.html?sid=1277199)
Film Won't Be Aired"
By Frank Ahrens and Howard Kurtz
Washington Post, Wednesday, October 20, 2004; Page A07
(on-line version at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A46338-2004Oct19.html
stations told to pull plug on anti-Kerry film"
by Mark Memmott
USA TODAY (Print edition: Oct. 20, 2004, Page 4A)
News Central provides steady diet of pro-Bush, anti-progressive
November 18th, 2004. On-line report by Media Matters for America
voices, less credibility"
Chapter 3 in Trends 2005
The Pew Research Center
(available online at: http://pewresearch.org/trends/)
smeared university professors, including one who regularly refutes
by Gabe Wildau.
posted on the web on Feb. 17th, 2005.
Media Matters for America (available at: http://mediamatters.org/items/200502180002)
'Fair and Balanced'. Sinclair, the pro-Bush broadcaster, is waging
war on the "cheese-eating surrender monkeys"
by Eric Klinenberg
Rolling Stone magazine, February 24, 2005
by Paul Schmelzer
IllinoisTimes, March 10, 2005.
(available at: http://www.illinoistimes.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A4052)
"Anchor feels right at home. Kim Moening helps
Channel 64 build a news operation from the ground up"
by John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer, May 5, 2005 (http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050505/LIFE/505050343)
sues former D.C. bureau chief" by
Caryn Tamber, Daily Record Legal Affairs Writer, The Daily Record,
Vol 5, Number 396, October 19, 2005 (http://www.mddailyrecord.com/)
sues the reporter who charged right-wing bias a year ago"
Nick Madigan, Baltimore
Sun, October 20, 2005.
by Paul Adams
Baltimore Sun, November 3, 2005
(on-line version available at: http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bal-bz.sinclair03nov03,1,3711546.story)
Media Research Local Universe Estimates (US)"
[Ranking of the 210 Designated Market Areas, based on Nielsen
estimates used throughout the 2005-2006 television season.]
(website information, available at: http://www.nielsenmedia.com/DMAs.html
was downloaded on November 30, 3005)
Necessarily the News - How Sinclair Broadcast Group bent the rules,
bought politicians, and faked the news to become one of the largest
independent owners of television stations in America. (And yes,
we use the word 'news' very, very loosely)"
By Wil S. Hyton,
GQ magazine, December, 2005
(on-line version: Nov 21, 2005 at: http://men.style.com/gq/features/full?id=content_4024&pageNum=2)
Broadcast Group corporate website
webpage entitled "NEWS" (at http://www.sbgi.net/business/news.shtml,
accessed on December 3, 2005)
screen capture available on request. (This citation provides SBG's
claim that News Central is designed for markets that could not
otherwise support local news).
Broadcast Group corporate website
Statement of Sinclair Broadcast Group [on Sinclair's preemption
of the ABC tribute "The Fallen"]
(available at: http://www.newscentral.tv/station/statement.shtml)